2014 Best Of Oakland and the East Bay

169 winners—our biggest list ever—representing the tops from sausages and spirits to circus arts and pub crawls.



Editor's Choice — Best Independent Music Shop and More: Acme House of Music. Pat Mazzera photo.

 

Photogrpahy by Lori Eanes, Stephen Loewinsohn, and Pat Mazzera

Food & Drink

Readers’ Choice

BEST NEW RESTAURANT

Penrose

Penrose’s allure lies in the simplicity. Brick walls and wooden rafters anchor the dining room while the Grand Lake eatery’s wall-length bar is always shaking, pouring classics such as mint juleps over crushed ice or gin and housemade tonic. Although the menu changes daily, the servers aren’t fazed as they guide you through the California cuisine that draws on Mediterranean and Spanish influences but always emphasizes fresh and local ingredients. The Hawaiian kampachi crudo is spring on a plate, the buttery fish decadent against the crisp-shaved radishes, fava beans, and oil. The tapas-style meal wouldn’t be complete without housemade flatbread and accompanying sauces—smoky harissa, herb-packed charmoula, and mind-blowing tahini yogurt. Each bite is simple and simply outstanding. 3311 Grand Ave., Oakland, 510-444-1649, www.PenroseOakland.com

—Matthew Craggs

Editors’ Choice

MOST ECO-FRIENDLY BREWERY

Ale Industries

As much as Morgan Cox and Stephen Lopas love beer, they’re just as passionate about the environment. And the co-founders of Ale Industries have put their money where their mouths are at their new production brewery and tasting room, located in a beautifully renovated old warehouse space in Oakland’s Fruitvale district (where they moved from Concord earlier this year). They call it the Fruitvale Fermentation Factory. They deliver their product via a biodiesel truck, operate an electronic forklift to move kegs, and are now using a biofueled boiler that Cox ordered and rigged to use for brewing operations, one of the only such examples in the country. The goal is to eventually run a completely carbon-neutral brewery. “It’s nice to get to the point where I’m able to take my personal dreams and concepts and apply them to our business,” Cox says. 3096 East 10th St, www.AleIndustries.com

—Ethan Fletcher

Readers’ Choice

BEST HAPPY HOUR CROWD, BEST OUTDOOR DINING, AND BEST RESTAURANT VIEW

Lake Chalet Seafood Bar & Grill

Drawing a mixture of employees ending the workday and surrounding residents, Lake Chalet’s happy hour crowd is always up for a good time. The food-and-drink specials served in the Pumphouse and Pumphouse bar inevitably find their way out onto the dock floating atop Lake Merritt. Perhaps it’s the view of the lake and the breeze rustling cocktail napkins that put patrons in such a good mood. Then again, it could be that Lake Chalet offers two happy hours (3–6 p.m. and 9 p.m.–close) every day. Whatever the cause, the effect is worthy of celebration, and Lake Chalet revelers are all too eager to raise a glass to toast their happy hour hosts. 1520 Lakeside Drive, Oakland, 510-208-5253, www.TheLakeChalet.com

—Matthew Craggs

Readers’ Choice

BEST STEAKS

The Alley

The Alley in Grand Lake serves a steak dinner so simplistically divine that Fred Flintstone would yell, “Yabba dabba do!” Alongside a salad swimming in dressing, steamed vegetables, and a baked potato, diners can choose from a New York or chopped sirloin steak or the Alley special or club steak—a 7-ounce and an 8- to 9-ounce top sirloin, respectively. Order the club steak rare, and you’ll get a charred exterior zigzagged with grill marks that can barely contain the tender, bloody flesh one cut away. The unadulterated recipe—meat plus fire—is a no frills prep that lets the natural flavors shine through, the perfect meal for anyone who’s ever wondered what a steak dinner should be at its very core. 3325 Grand Ave., Oakland, 510-444-8505

—Matthew Craggs

Readers’ Choice

BEST SPIRITS SELECTION

ALSO BEST SOUTHERN / SOUL FOOD

Picán

Whether it’s bourbon, rye, moonshine, or white lightening, Picán’s whiskey selection is top-notch from the top-shelf to the well. The Uptown, upscale Southern and soul food restaurant stocks the bar with selections from across the United States. The origins are indeed diverse, from right in our backyard (St. George Single Malt) to Utah’s High West American Prairie, and on to the treasures of Tennessee, such as Buffalo Trace’s Thomas H. Handy Sazerac and selections from Collier & McKeel and Prichard’s Distillery. Rare and hard-to-find reserves—a selection worthy of praise unto itself—fill the bar, but it’s rounded out with household names, including Jack, Jim, and Johnny because sometimes you just want a shot of Jack—and Picán has four types from which to choose. And a quick word about the food: fantastic and among the best in town. 2295 Broadway, Oakland, 510-834-1000, www.PicanRestaurant.com

—Matthew Craggs

Editors’ Choice

BEST MEATLESS BREAKFAST

Shihan Phool at Alem’s Coffee

Vegetarians and carnivores unite on the corner of Claremont and Vicente (across from the DMV) at ultra-tiny Alem’s Coffee where a plastic plate full of fava beans, diced onion, chili pepper, and feta cheese offers big flavor for an $8 price tag. Swoop a seat at one of the five indoor tables, or snag a spot on the covered front patio and slam your spoon into this Eritrean dish of creamy, spicy goodness served with gloriously soft and warm French bread. Opt for a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice or a paper cup of coffee, and your day is guaranteed to start on a tasty note. Insider tip: If you like extra heat in your meal, they’ll bring it with gusto. Just ask. 5353 Claremont Ave., 510-655-6003

—Elyce Berrigan-Dunlop

Editors’ Choice

BEST WATER-BASED PUB CRAWL

The Oakland Estuary

One of the coolest new things about the resurgent Oakland drinking-and-dining scene has been the rediscovery of the waterfront. A great way to experience that is via kayak or canoe along the Oakland estuary.

Stop 1: St. George Spirits and/or Faction Brewing

Get those paddling muscles lubed up with a stop at one (or both) of these adjacent businesses located on the western end of Alameda with spectacular views of San Francisco. St. George’s offers various craft spirit tastings, while Faction sports home-brewed beers and a great front patio for outdoor imbibing. 2601 Monarch St., 510-769-1601, www.StGeorgeSpirits.com; 2501 Monarch St., 510-523-2739, www.FactionBrewing.com

Stop 2: Heinold’s First and Last Chance Saloon

You can park and put in your watercraft nearby at the estuary-front parking lot just north of Navy Way and Main Street. The paddle to Jack London Square offers serene water-level vistas of the industrial doings at the Oakland Port. Dock at Jack London Square—or if you don’t have your own boat, rent one at California Canoe & Kayak. Either way, it’s always worth ordering a beer at the slanted bar of the 131-year-old Heinold’s, likely Oakland’s oldest bar. 48 Webster St., 510-839-6761, www.HeinoldsFirstAndLastChance.com

Stop 3: Brotzeit Lokal Boathause & Biergarten

Continue southeast. If you’re looking for a quick detour, hang a left after Estuary Park to explore the inlet that will eventually connect all the way to Lake Merritt. Bear left at Coast Guard Island and dock at Brotzeit Lokal’s private berth. The German-style beer garden is a great place to grab a homemade sausage for lunch—and yes, another beer if you’d like. 1000 Embarcadero, 510-645-1905, www.BrotzeitBiergarten.com

Stop 4: Quinn’s Lighthouse Restaurant & Pub

Keep paddling down the estuary past the under-development Brooklyn Basin to Quinn’s Lighthouse Restaurant & Pub. Congratulate yourself on a job well done with a celebratory beer and order of calamari. And call a friend for a ride home. 1951 Embarcadero E., 510-536-2050, www.QuinnsLighthouse.com.

—Ethan Fletcher

Readers’ Choice

BEST BREAKFAST / LUNCH, BEST DINER, AND BEST LATE-NIGHT MUNCHIES

Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe

A few words about breakfast: green eggs and ham. Lunch: buffalo salad. Friday night dinner: Mr. Roadie’s fish and chips. And late night: chocolate shakes. Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe dabbles in a little bit of everything and does it all with flair, from omelets, scrambles, and towering hash-brown creations to salads, burgers, and chicken-fried steak, all plated up in big, bold, bright diner style. Good, honest food for the masses at affordable prices, the Rudy’s business model since 2002. Which means hipsters jacked up on espresso join tables with Italian-soda sipping young parents and toddlers anticipating funny-faced pancakes, while the well-heeled set chugs ale at the bar next to the college kids who nurse Olympia, killing time before a show at the Fox. Barbies, monkeys, and fork-wielding iconic Rudy are everywhere, fun stuff that can put smiles on most people’s faces. Other joints that try to be so many things to so many people can fail miserably, but not Rudy’s—where failing is not an option. 1805 Telegraph Ave., 510-251-9400 (also 4081 Hollis St., Emeryville, 510-594-1221), www.IAmRudy.com

—Judith M. Gallman

Editors’ Choice

MOST INSPIRING SPACE WITHIN A BEER GARDEN

Lost & Found

At first glance, the plants in the back patio of Uptown’s new Lost & Found are simply a nice “garden-y” touch for the latest addition to the suddenly beer garden–crazy Oakland dining scene. But peek behind the foliage, and you’ll find a story with deeper roots. Christi Vaughn, who owns Lost & Found and the Layover bar with her husband, Tim Martinez, is a passionate gardener (many of the plants were transplanted from the backyard of the couple’s West Oakland home). And she’s passionate about sharing that love for a greater good. Vaughn helped start a pilot gardening program at San Quentin State Prison, the idea being to teach inmates a skill that they can use in the outside world. In fact, she plans to employ some of the program’s graduates to maintain the plants at Lost & Found: “We’re hoping that this can provide some structure and employment opportunities for some of these guys to help them succeed outside of prison.” 2040 Telegraph Ave., 510-763-2040, www.LostAndFound510.com.

—Ethan Fletcher

Readers’ Choice

BEST SAUSAGES

Rosamunde Sausage Grill

Whether you’re looking for a bitchin’ brat or a vicious vegan kielbasa, you’ll find scrumptious sausages at Rosamunde Sausage Grill in Old Oakland’s Swan’s Market. The display case stuffed full of sausage that greets customers walking in is a smorgasbord of choices, everything from the tried-and-true knockwursts and Louisiana hot links to more inventive offerings such as duck and merguez—Moroccan spiced lamb—though the best-seller is the beer sausage. The smoked sausage made from pork and beef—juicy but not greasy with a satisfying snap from the casing—on a toasted roll is best loaded down with spicy mustard, grilled onions, and sauerkraut. It may kill your breath, but it’ll revive your soul. 911 Washington St., Oakland, 510-338-3108, www.RosamundeSausageGrill.com/Downtown-Oakland

—Matthew Craggs

Goods & Services

Readers’ Choice

BEST PLANT NURSERY

Thornhill Nursery

Comparing this shaded Montclair nursery to some other local nurseries is like comparing the Berkeley Bowl to a 7 Eleven. Stocked with plants perfect for Oakland’s microclimate, the knowledgeable staff can help you start a new garden, troubleshoot any plant problems you may have, or point you in the direction of something new to perk up your already thriving backyard jungle. But more importantly, Thornhill serves up inspiration as readily as information, with meandering paths, multiple ponds, and multi-hued flora delightfully arranged to get you revved up for creating your own plant-filled Eden. 6250 Thornhill Drive, 510-339-1311, www.ThornhillNsy.com

—Elise Proulx

Editors’ Choice

BEST INDEPENDENT MUSIC SHOP AND MORE

Acme House of Music

Called “a mom-and-pop shop since 1969,” Acme House of Music—long a gem in the Laurel District—recently moved to a new, larger space near the top of Piedmont Avenue. It’s a retail, repair, and artistic space that defies easy categorization. The staff and teachers offer lessons and workshops, and they fix, rent, and sell vintage and new instruments as well as electronic equipment. In myriad, mellifluous ways, this funky, home-grown business promotes harmony and creativity in the community. 4444 Piedmont Ave., 510-655-2263, AcmeHouseOfMusic.com

—Sarah Lavender Smith

Editors’ Choice

BEST GROCERY CHECKOUT CREW

The Folks at Piedmont Grocery

If you shop at Piedmont Grocery with any regularity, chances are the checkout clerks will learn your name, greet you personally, and ask about your kids or your work. If you need a special order or have trouble finding something, they’ll remember and inquire if you got it the next time they see you. And if you ever need extra help, they’ll promptly lend a hand with a smile. The crew’s leaders Aldo Estrada, Dave Howland, and Wayne Davis promote a tradition of old-fashioned, neighborly customer service that newer gourmet grocers try but often fail to emulate. Thanks to these employees, Piedmont Grocery—which celebrates its 113th year in September—keeps the heart of Piedmont Avenue beating strong. 4038 Piedmont Avenue, 510-653-8181, www.PiedmontGrocery.com

—Sarah Lavender Smith

Readers’ Choice

BEST WOMEN’S CLOTHING

FIT

This Rockridge boutique rocks a selection of sophisticated garments for women who’ve gained enough life experience to know what not to wear. No muffin-top-making jeans here; just slick gear from a range of American, European, and Japanese designers including New York’s Diane von Furstenberg, Spanish designer Isabel de Pedro, Japan’s Yoshi Yoshi, and shoes made in Italy and Spain from Bettye Muller. From a classic wrap dress to silk separates to accessories and shoes, this is the place to dress so you feel like a woman instead of a girl. A great spot to shop for special events and casual clothes elegant enough to make every day seem special. 5707 College Ave., 510-923-0784, www.FitClothingRockridge.com

—Elise Proulx

Editors’ Choice

BEST REPURPOSING OF A CANDY SHOP

Temescal Community Foundation

Anyone who lives in the Temescal district is familiar with the old Hooper’s Chocolate store. The eccentric pink Cape Cod–style building has been a charming landmark on Telegraph Avenue for decades. But as the Hooper’s business fortunes wound down, it was also undeniable that the slowly decaying building had become a bit of a dilemma: Who the heck would be willing to take on this odd space? The Temescal Community Foundation, it turns out, which moved in its thrift store annex. It seems obvious in retrospect, but what better use for a quirky old structure than to sell quirky second-hand wares. The foundation gave the place a little facelift (preserving the exterior sign and even the old candy display counters inside, now used to showcase jewelry), and in the process has injected even more new life a rejuvenated neighborhood. 4632 Telegraph Ave., 510-653-6817, www.TemescalCommunityFoundation.com

—Ethan Fletcher

Readers’ Choice

BEST TATTOO ARTIST AND PARLOR, BEST ART GALLERY

Old Crow Tattoo and Art Gallery

What do Kentucky whiskey, urban art, and Grand Avenue have in common? They all converge at the Old Crow Tattoo and Art Gallery in one singular display of creativity and Americana. While the parlor no longer showcases rotating works as it has in years past, the front room and adjoining back studio boast murals and framed pieces that represent the diversity of the local art scene and its talented team of originators. Think: sleekly articulated drawings and wildly colorful graffiti. Of course, no actual “drank” is served here, and yes, there is a two-year wait to get inked up by owner Philip Milic, but no other shop will educate you with its interior décor while your stencil gets finished. 362 Grand Avenue, 510-834-2769, www.OldCrowTattoo.com

—Elyce Berrigan-Dunlop

Editors’ Choice

BEST STORE FOR REAL RUNNERS

Transports

Transports on College Avenue serves runners better than any other East Bay sports store because it’s staffed with top-level competitive runners who know how to properly fit shoes and other gear to meet individual needs. These speedsters also stay on top of industry trends, so they can clue you in on running shoes from minimalist to maximal, track to trail, and everything in between. In business since 1982, Transports consistently and generously supports the local running community through sponsorships of running events and organized group runs. Bonus: they specialize in swimming, too! 6014 College Avenue, 510-655-4809, www.TransportsRunSwim.com

—Sarah Lavender Smith

Lifestyle & Leisure

Readers’ Choice

BEST KARAOKE CROWD

Nick’s Lounge

You know those windowless bars on seedy streets that offer stale cigarette smoke, dark corners, and a bad reminder that life is too short? Well, that isn’t this place. Oh, no; Nick’s Lounge (sans windows as it may be) is a bright and beckoning karaoke palace nuzzled into a 500-square-foot rectangle off MLK, and it’s the ideal hideaway to throw back a beer, perform your favorite Blondie number, and get lost in the jazzy twilight of a good buzz in great company. The crowd members are as quick to offer a songbook as they are a riotous round of applause, and they do it seven nights a week. This is the hole-in-the-wall gala of appreciation all nonprofessional performers have been waiting for. Cheers! 3218 Adeline Street, 510-652-6425, www.NicksLounge.com

—Elyce Berrigan-Dunlop

Editors’ Choice

BEST COMMUNITY-BUILDING BOOKSTORE

A Great Good Place for Books

Ten years ago, in the summer of 2004, book lover Kathleen Caldwell found herself out of work and at a crossroads in her career. She decided to persevere in the struggling book industry and consequently met the owner of A Great Good Place for Books in Montclair, who hired her, and they became fast friends. Tragically, the owner passed away from heart complications not long after that. She left the store to Caldwell, who redoubled her commitment to make this bookstore a success at a time when independent bookstores were dying due to online competition. Thanks to her efforts, A Great Good Place for Books is more than a bookstore—it’s a community hub, a place where passersby browse and get recommendations on what to read, and people gather to hear great authors discuss their works. Caldwell and her staff succeed not only because they build community, but also because they are voracious readers who offer spot-on suggestions of books to buy. Their love of books is infectious. www.GGPBboks.com, 6120 La Salle Avenue, 510-339-8210.

—Sarah Lavender Smith

Readers’ Choice

FRIENDLIEST BAR, BEST PLACE TO MEET MEMBERS OF THE OPPOSITE SEX

Make Westing

It’s Friday night in downtown Oakland, and if you’re looking for a cocktail and a crowd, you’re at Make Westing. This wide-open, industrial-style space is wall-to-wall with 20- and 30-somethings who have one agenda in mind: drink and mingle. Whether it’s getting acquainted over bocce ball (the lounge boasts two venue-long courts) or chatting it up at the bar (with a side of artichokes or a Cuban sandwich), there’s ample opportunity to flaunt your game, and you’ll look cool doing it in the mood lighting cast by chic metallic fixtures. It’s low-brow enough to serve tall boys and has enough class to offer a fine martini. Words to date by: When the sun has set over the Fox Theater, you should be here. 1741 Telegraph Ave., 510-251-1400, www.MakeWesting.com

—Elyce Berrigan-Dunlop

Editors’ Choice

BEST 10K LOOP THROUGH OAKLAND’S WOODS

Redwood Park Sampler

Some 20 trails cover scores of miles through the 1,830 acres of Redwood Regional Park. So where do you go if you want the best “park sampler” for a moderate two-hour hike or hour-long run? Start at Skyline Gate on Skyline Boulevard and go for 3 miles on the rolling hills of the East Ridge Trail, which features bird’s-eye views of the canyon’s treetops and of the foothills that skirt Mount Diablo. Turn right and descend the steep Canyon Trail, arriving at the Canyon Meadow picnic area. From there, head north on the Stream Trail about 2.5 miles back up to Skyline Gate. The Stream Trail traverses the heart of park, site of 19th-century mills and majestic 150-foot Sequoia redwoods standing in a carpet of ferns beside a babbling creek. The loop is exactly 6.2 miles long. EBParks.org/Parks/Redwood

—Sarah Lavender Smith

Readers’ Choice

BEST PILATES STUDIO

Real People Pilates

It’s not easy getting lost in the crowd at Real People Pilates, where the focus is on individual, undivided attention. Whether you’re a professional athlete or a couch potato, to the instructors, you’re a real person with unique needs, and they tailor your workout with care. This small, friendly studio offers no distractions: it’s classical Pilates with a complete repertoire of Pilates equipment. Real People Pilates opened 10 years ago, and as business expanded, owner Joseph Quinn chose to forgo an open floor plan—cramming clients in might be more lucrative, but at the expense of lost intimacy, he felt. All that attention makes it hard to slack. As one happy reviewer wrote, the instructor “doesn’t miss a trick.” To diffuse the pressure and the cost, try another Real People Pilates specialty: the duet session. 2718 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley, 510-704-8194, www.RealPeoplePilates.com

—Kathy Hrastar

Families & Pets

Readers’ Choice

BEST K–12 TEACHER

Jean-Philippe Filhol, Ecole Bilingue

When people talk about Jean-Philippe Filhol, they use words like “phenomenal,” “exuberant,” and “magical.” Filhol, originally from the south of France, has spent the past 23 years teaching at Ecole Bilingue, the French immersion school in Berkeley. And he can’t imagine doing anything else. “I feel lucky to work with such enthusiastic kids and supportive families and passionate coworkers,” he says. This, from a man who, while still challenging his class academically, has been known to break out in song. As a first- and second-grade teacher, Filhol understands that each kid is unique, and he strives to reach out to every single one, not only academically, but emotionally and socially as well. Parents of his students say that he transformed their child; he’s like family; he draws the best out of children with his “almost palpable” positive energy. Take their word, or listen to former student Max Sivolella, now in high school, who wrote of Filhol, “He helped me not just become smarter, but become a better person too.” 1009 Heinz Ave., Berkeley, 510-549-3867, www.EB.org

—Kathy Hrastar

Editors’ Choice

BEST PET SITTER AND DOG WALKER

Heidi Kistler, The Pawsitively Pampered Pet

If you’re looking for somebody to walk your dog or snuggle your cat while you’re at work, or take care of them when you’re gone, there are plenty of candidates offering their services. But before you hand over the keys to your home, you want to be sure the person you’re trusting with your worldly goods and your best friend’s welfare is kind and proactive—and has a good track record. Oakland resident Heidi Kistler launched The Pawsitively Pampered Pet in 1997; named Pet Sitter International’s Pet Sitter of the Year in 1999, she’s garnered a devoted fan base ever since among new and long-term clients, often becoming a lifelong caregiver for their pets. Heidi and her husband, Ryan, take the time to get to know your critters, their routines, likes, and dislikes, as well as any medical or other issues. If your job keeps you working long hours, and you’ve got a new puppy, they’ll help with that all-important socialization, as well as potty breaks. They’ll handle transport to groomers and vets. When you’re on the road, they’ll keep your house looking occupied as you request (e.g., bringing in the mail, turning on the lights) while they keep Rex and Kitty safe and content. On your return you’ll get a nice note about how everyone did while you were gone, but the best report comes from your pals, who, as many can attest, with be happy to see you, but pretty relaxed about it. 3536 Wisconsin St., 510-336-9861,www.YourPamperedPets.com

—Mary Eisenhart

Editors’ Choice

BEST PLACE TO SHARE CREATIVE QUALITY TIME WITH YOUR TEEN

The Crucible

Now in its 15th year, The Crucible industrial arts center in West Oakland lives up to its tagline, “inspiring creativity in everyone.” Adults as well as youth can take all sorts of fiery, funky, fun classes in art and craftsmanship, ranging from blacksmithing to glass blowing to welding and woodworking. Parents, consider signing up for classes alongside your kid so you both can unleash your imaginations while working with your hands. The Crucible also offers Fun Together Weekend workshops that teens can enroll in with their parents. Make designing, building and creating a family affair. www.TheCrucible.org, 1260 Seventh St., 510-444-0919

—Sarah Lavender Smith

Readers’ Choice

BEST PLACE TO TAKE THE KIDS

ALSO BEST PLACE TO SCHEDULE A CHILDREN’S EVENT

Children’s Fairyland

The possession of a brightly colored plastic key may be the best mark of a true Oakland kid. That magic key after all gives the under-3-feet-tall set the power to broadcast the nursery rhymes that act as the soundtrack to Children’s Fairyland’s darling storybook sets–including the Three Little Pigs and Little Miss Muffet. An early inspiration for Disneyland, Fairyland still shines after more than 60 years delighting Oakland’s kids. From the Jolly Trolley miniature train to a petite-sized Ferris wheel, all the attractions are the perfect size—and offer just the right level of adventure—for kids from 3 to 7. The shaded picnic grounds at the back of the park are a great spot for birthday parties and other celebratory gatherings to come together for cake and presents before everyone shoots off to put those magic keys to good use. 699 Bellevue Ave., 510-452-2259, www.Fairyland.org

—Elise Proulx

Editors’ Choice

BEST PLACE TO GET FIT AND FULFILL A CIRCUS FANTASY

Kinetic Arts Center

Think “circus” and you may think of clowns, trapeze, and people twisting like pretzels. But the big tent of “circus arts” covers many disciplines that make for exciting, athletic, and creative ways to get fit and develop new skills. Kinetic Arts Center, on the corner of Seventh and Brush streets in West Oakland, offers adult fitness classes (as well as kids’ classes and performance programs) such as Rope & Tissue, Aerial Hoop, Contortion & Flexibility, Pole Fit & Play—and of course, Trapeze and Clowning. The instructors come to Kinetic Arts with stellar credentials and inspire all ages and ability levels. If you can’t stand the gym, then run away to Kinetic Arts. 785 Seventh St., 510-444-4800, www.KineticArtsCenter.com, 510-444-4800

—Sarah Lavender Smith

Readers’ Choice

BEST PLACE TO BOARD PETS

Every Dog Has Its Day Care

Out in the sunny play yard, big dogs are basking, rolling, schmoozing, and just hanging out, watched over by attentive humans. An elderly dog who joined the group after his lifelong companion died, leaving him bereft and depressed, makes the rounds, greeting all his new pals. As a staff member gives the pool a good scrubbing, a young puppy pulls at her leash, impatient for water fun to resume. It’s another happy morning at Every Dog Has Its Day Care, which has been offering dogs a home away from home for the last 17 years. “Our No. 1 concern is safety,” explains COO Mischa Kubancik. “This isn’t about taking your dog to the park and throwing a Frisbee. This is about caring for somebody’s family member.” Playgroups of compatible dogs (rambunctious youngsters, mellow seniors, etc.) enjoy sessions of frolicking in the secure play yard, interspersed with plenty of naptime and TLC. Currently in an airy, spacious facility in Emeryville, Every Dog will be moving to a nearby much larger West Oakland location in January. 1450 63rd St., Emeryville, 510-655-7832, www.EveryDog.com

—Mary Eisenhart

 

Complete List of  Readers’ Choice Winners

Food & Drink

BEST BAKERY
La Farine
Multiple locations
www.LaFarine.com

BEST BAR
The Trappist
460 Eighth St., 510-238-8900
www.TheTrappist.com

BEST BARBECUE
Everett and Jones
126 Broadway, 510-663-2350
www.EandJbbq.com

BEST BARTENDERS
Sidebar
542 Grand Ave, 510-452-9500
www.Sidebar-Oaktown.com

BEST BEER SELECTION
Beer Revolution
464 Third St.
www.Beer-Revolution.com

BEST BREAKFAST / BRUNCH
Rudy’s Can’t Fail Café
1805 Telegraph Ave., 510-251-9400
4801 Hollis St., Emeryville, 510-594-1221
www.IAmRudy.com

BEST BURGER
Barney’s Gourmet Hamburgers
Multiple locations

BEST BUTCHER SHOP
Ver Brugge Foods
6321 College Ave, 510-658-6854
www.Facebook.com/VBFoods

BEST CAFE / COFFEEHOUSE
Peet’s Coffee & Tea
Multiple locations
www.Peets.com

BEST CALIFORNIA CUISINE
Wood Tavern
6317 College Ave., 510-654-6607
www.WoodTavern.net

BEST CHEESES
The Cheese Counter at the Pasta Shop
Rockridge Market Hall
5655 College Ave, 510-250-6005
www.RockridgeMarkethall.com/Pasta-Shop

BEST CHEF
James Syhabout
Box and Bells, Commis, Hawker Fare, The Dock at Linden Street

BEST CHINESE RESTAURANT
Little Shin Shin
4258 Piedmont Ave., 510-658-9799
www.LittleShinShin.com

BEST COCKTAILS
Boot and Shoe Service
3308 Grand Ave., 510-763-2668
www.BootAndShoeService.com

BEST DATE NIGHT RESTAURANT
À Côté
5478 College Ave., 510-655-6469
www.ACoteRestaurant.com

BEST DELI
Genova Delicatessen and Ravioli
5095 Telegraph Ave., 510-652-7401

BEST DESSERTS
La Farine
Multiple locations
www.LaFarine.com

BEST DIM SUM
Hong Kong East Ocean Seafood
3199 Powell St., Emeryville, 510-655-3388
www.HKEO.us

BEST DINER
Rudy’s Can’t Fail Café
1805 Telegraph Ave., 510-251-9400
4801 Hollis St., Emeryville, 510-594-1221
www.IAmRudy.com

BEST ETHIOPIAN / ERITREAN RESTAURANT
Asmara Restaurant
5020 Telegraph Ave., 510-547-5100
www.AsmaraRestaurant.com

BEST FARMERS MARKET
Grand Lake Farmers Market
415-472-6100
www.AgriculturalInstitute.org

BEST FOOD TRUCK
Doc’s of the Bay
510-978 4582
www.DocsOfTheBay.com

BEST HAPPY HOUR CROWD
Lake Chalet Seafood Bar & Grill
1520 Lakeside Drive,  510-208-5253
www.TheLakeChalet.com

BEST HAPPY HOUR DRINK DEALS
Restaurant Chu
5362 College Ave., 510-601-8818
www.RestaurantChu.com

BEST HAPPY HOUR FOOD
Adesso
4395 Piedmont Ave., Ste. 2, 510-601-0305
www.DopoAdesso.com/Adesso

BEST ICE CREAM
Fentons Creamery and Restaurant
4226 Piedmont Ave., 510-658-7000
www.FentonsCreamery.com

BEST INDIAN/PAKISTANI RESTAURANT
Flavors of India
Multiple locations
www.Flavors-India.com

BEST ITALIAN RESTAURANT
Italian Colors
2220 Mountain Blvd., 510-482-8094
www.ItalianColorsRestaurant.com

BEST JAPANESE / SUSHI RESTAURANT
Kakui Sushi
2060 Mountain Blvd., 510-338-1188
www.KakuiSushi.com

BEST KOREAN RESTAURANT
Gogi Time
2600 Telegraph Ave., 510-834-5757
www.GogiTime.com

BEST LATE NIGHT MUNCHIES
Rudy’s Can’t Fail Café
1805 Telegraph Ave., 510-251-9400
4801 Hollis St., Emeryville, 510-594-1221
www.IAmRudy.com

BEST LOCAL BREWERY
Linden Street Brewery
95 Linden St., 510-251-8898
www.LindenBeer.com

BEST LOCAL WINERY
Rosenblum Cellars
10 Clay St., 800-559-8069
www.RosenblumCellars.com

BEST LOUNGE
Lounge 3411
3411 MacArthur Blvd., 510-531-3411
www.Lounge3411.com

BEST MEDITERRANEAN / MIDDLE EASTERN RESTAURANT
La Mediterranee
2936 College Ave, Berkeley, 510-540-7773
www.CafeLaMed.com

BEST MEXICAN RESTAURANT
Doña Tomás
5004 Telegraph Ave., 510-450-0522
www.DonaTomás.com

BEST NEIGHBORHOOD BAR
The Kingfish Pub and Cafe
5227 Claremont Ave. (for now), 510-655-7373

BEST NEW RESTAURANT
Penrose
3311 Grand Ave., 510-444-1649
www.PenroseOakland.com

BEST OFFICE CAFETERIA
Pixar
1200 Park Ave, Emeryville, 510-922-3000
www.Pixar.com

BEST OUTDOOR DINING
Lake Chalet Seafood Bar & Grill
1520 Lakeside Drive, 510-208-5253
www.TheLakeChalet.com

BEST PIZZA
Zachary’s Chicago Pizza
Multiple locations
www.Zacharys.com

BEST RESTAURANT
Wood Tavern
6317 College Ave., 510-654-6607
www.WoodTavern.net

BEST RESTAURANT SERVICE
Asmara Restaurant
5020 Telegraph Ave., 510-547-5100
www.AsmaraRestaurant.com

BEST RESTAURANT VIEW
Lake Chalet Seafood Bar & Grill
1520 Lakeside Drive,  510-208-5253
www.TheLakeChalet.com

BEST SALADS
Barney’s Gourmet Hamburgers
Multiple locations

BEST SANDWICHES
Genova Delicatessen and Ravioli
5095 Telegraph Ave., 510-652-7401

BEST SAUSAGES
Rosamunde Sausage Grill
911 Washington St., Oakland, 510-338-3108
www.RosamundeSausageGrill.com

BEST SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
Marica Restaurant
5301 College Ave., 510-985-8388
www.MaricaFood.Wordpress.com

BEST SEAFOOD RETAILER (TIE)
Hapuku Fish ShopRockridge Market Hall
5655 College Ave., 510-250-6007, www.RockridgeMarketHall.com/Hapuku-Fish
Tokyo Fish Market
1220 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, 510-524-7243, www.TokyoFish.net

BEST SOUTH AMERICAN RESTAURANT
Bocanova
55 Webster St., 510-444-1233
www.Bocanova.com

BEST SOUTHERN / SOUL FOOD
Picán
2295 Broadway, 510-834-1000
www.PicanRestaurant.com

BEST SPIRITS SELECTION
Picán
2295 Broadway,  510-834-1000
www.PicanRestaurant.com

BEST STEAKS
The Alley
3325 Grand Ave.,  510-444-8505

BEST TAPAS
Barlata
4901 Telegraph Ave., 510-450-0678
www.Barlata.com

BEST TEAHOUSE (TIE)
Golden Tea Shop
901 Franklin St., 510-251-9368
Numi Tea Garden
1050 22nd Ave., 510-534-6864
www.NumiTea.com

(no longer open to public but available for private use)

BEST THAI / BURMESE RESTAURANT
Burma Superstar
4721 Telegraph Ave., 510-652-2900
www.BurmaSuperstar.com

BEST VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT
Golden Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant
1301 Franklin St., 510-893-0383
www.GoldenLotusVege.com

BEST VIETNAMESE / CAMBODIAN RESTAURANT
Xyclo Restaurant / Lounge
4218 Piedmont Ave., 510-654-2681
www.XycloRestaurant.com

BEST WINE BAR
Ordinaire Wine Shop & Wine Bar
3354 Grand Ave, 510-629-3944
www.OrdinaireWine.com

BEST WINE LIST (TIE)
A 16
5356 College Ave., 510-768-8003
www.A16Rockridge.com

District
827 Washington St., 510-272-9110
www.DistrictOak.com

BEST WINE STORE
The Wine Mine
5427 Telegraph Ave., 510-547-9463
www.WineMineCo.com

BIGGEST PORTIONS
Barney’s Gourmet Hamburgers
Multiple locations
www.BarneysHamburgers.com

FRIENDLIEST BAR
Make Westing
1741 Telegraph Ave., 510-251-1400
www.makewesting.com

 

Goods & Services

BEST ACUPUNCTURIST
Jessica Parker, L.Ac., M.T.C.M.
Root & Stem Integrative Chinese Medicine
3515 Grand Ave., 510-463-4304
www.OaklandRootAndStem.com

BEST ADULT HAIRCUTS
Seven 7 Salon
5358 College Ave., 510-601-7776
1629 Park St., Alameda, 510-521-7707
www.Seven7Salon.com

BEST ANTIQUE STORE
Montclair Estates on Piedmont
4268 Piedmont Ave., 510-339-6505
www.PiedmontExchange.com

BEST BIKE SHOP
Manifesto Bicycles
421 40th St., 510-595-1155
www.WeAreManifesto.com

BEST BOOKSTORE
Walden Pond Books
3316 Grand Ave., 510-832-4438
www.WaldenPondBooks.com

BEST CAR DEALER
Honda of Oakland
3330 Broadway, 888-257-2885
www.HondaOakland.com

BEST CAR REPAIR
Torchio’s Auto Repair
2344 Webster St., 510-451-3272
www.TorchiosAuto.com

BEST CHILDREN’S CLOTHING (TIE)
Silver Moon Kids
3233 Lakeshore Ave., 510-835-2229
Ruby’s Garden
5026 Telegraph Ave., 510-595-5325
www.RubysGarden.com

BEST CHIROPRACTOR
Carolyn Finnegan, D.C.

BEST CONSIGNMENT OR VINTAGE CLOTHING
Crossroads Trading
Multiple locations
www.CrossroadsTrading.com

BEST DENTIST
Melinda Chan, D.D.S.
Rockridge Smiles
5277 College Ave Ste 203, 510-654-2226
www.RockridgeSmiles.com

BEST EAST BAY PRODUCT
Oaklandish Gear
1444 Broadway, 510-251-9500
3419 Fruitvale Ave., 510-482-2020
www.Oaklandish.com

BEST EYEGLASS SELECTION
All Eyes on Me Optometry
3417 Fruitvale Ave., 510-530-2000

BEST FURNITURE STORE
Uhuru Furniture
3742 Grand Ave., 510-763-3342
www.UhuruFurniture.blogspot.com

BEST GENERAL PRACTITIONER
Jolene Brighten, N.D.
3515 Grand Ave., 510-985-4044
www.JBrighten.com

BEST GIFT SHOP
Urban Indigo
3339 Lakeshore Ave., 510-419-0451
www.UrbanIndigo.com

BEST GROCERY
Piedmont Grocery
4038 Piedmont Ave., 510-653-8181
www.PiedmontGrocery.com

BEST HAIR SALON
Seven 7 Salon
5358 College Ave., 510-601-7776
1629 Park St., Alameda, 510-521-7707
www.Seven7Salon.com

BEST HOME FURNISHINGS STORE
Rockridge Furniture & Design
5601 College Ave., 510-652-5753
www.RockridgeFurniture.com

BEST HOME REMODELER
Stephen Swan
Swan Building
86 Hillcrest Road, Berkeley, 510-595-5337
www.SwanBuilding.com

BEST JEWELER
Pavé Fine Jewelry Design
5496 College Ave., 510-547-7000
1778 Fourth Street, Berkeley, 510-528-7300
www.pavefinejewelry.com

BEST LANDSCAPER
jocelynalyssa Garden Design & Installation
510-788-0469
www.JocelynAlyssa.com

BEST MANICURE / PEDICURE
Natural Nails Plus
3527 Grand Ave., 510-251-2111
www.NaturalNailsPlus.com

BEST MASSAGE THERAPIST
Andrea Turner, C.M.T.
Andrea Turner Massage Therapy
585 Mandana Blvd., 510-268-0443
www.AndreaCMT.com

BEST MEN’S CLOTHING
Elder & Pine
423 40th St., 510-420-1980
www.ElderAndPine.com

BEST NEW BUSINESS
The Pet Concierge
4382 Piedmont Ave., 510-681-9521
www.ThePetConcierge.com

BEST PEDIATRICIAN
Amy Maidenberg, M.D.
Sage Pediatrics
4329 Piedmont Ave., 510-418-9331
www.SagePediatrics.com

BEST PHARMACY
Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy
Multiple locations
www.Pharmaca.com

BEST PLACE FOR A FACIAL
Seven 7 Salon
5358 College Ave., 510-601-7776
1629 Park St., Alameda, 510-521-7707
www.Seven7Salon.com

BEST PLANT NURSERY
Thornhill Nursery
6250 Thornhill Drive, 510-339-1311
www.ThornhillNsy.com

BEST PLASTIC SURGEON
Joseph N. Togba, M.D.
Togba Plastic Surgery
3300 Webster St., Ste. 1109, 510-763-2525
www.JosephTogbaMD.com

BEST SHOE STORE
Tootsies Rockridge
5525 College Ave., 510-595-7272
www.TootsiesBoutique.com

BEST SHOPPING DISTRICT
Rockridge
www.RockridgeDistrict.com

BEST SOLAR INSTALLATION
Sungevity
66 Franklin St., Ste. 310, 866-786-4255
www.Sungevity.com

BEST SPA
The Claremont Hotel Club & Spa
41 Tunnel Road, Berkeley, 510-843-3000
www.ClaremontResort.com

BEST REAL ESTATE AGENT
Doug Fuller, Highland Partners
342 Highland Ave., Piedmont, 415-290-4374
www.dougfuller.net

BEST REAL ESTATE COMPANY
Highland Partners
2077 Mountain Blvd., 510-399-9290
342 Highland Ave., Piedmont, 510-428-0900
www.TheHighlandPartners.com

BEST SPECIALTY STORE
Nathan & Co.
4025 Piedmont Ave., 510-428-9638
5636 College Ave., 510-601-1677
www.NathanAndCo.com

BEST SURGEON
Joseph N. Togba, M.D.
Togba Plastic Surgery
3300 Webster St., Ste. 1109, 510-763-2525
www.JosephTogbaMD.com

BEST TATTOO ARTIST AND PARLOR
Old Crow Tattoo and Art Gallery
362 Grand Avenue, 510-834-2769
www.OldCrowTattoo.com

BEST WOMEN’S CLOTHING
FIT
5707 College Ave., 510-923-0784
www.FitClothingRockridge.com

 

Lifestyle & Leisure

BEST ARTIST
Kevin Woodson
www.KevinWoodson.com

BEST ART GALLERY (TIE)
Old Crow Tattoo and Art Gallery
362 Grand Ave., 510-834-2769, www.OldCrowTattoo.com
Vessel Gallery
471 25th St., 510-893-8800
www.Vessel-Gallery.com

Slate Contemporary
473 25th St., 510-652-4085
www.SlateArt.net

BEST ARTS ORGANIZATION
Creative Growth Art Center
355 24th St., 510-836-2340
www.CreativeGrowth.org

BEST BAY AREA MUSEUM SHOW
Above and Below: Stories From Our Changing Bay
(Oakland Museum of California, Aug. 31, 2013–Feb. 13, 2014)

BEST BIKE RIDE
Lake Merritt

BEST CHARITABLE EVENT
Pet Mayor Contest in Montclair
www.PetAndWildlifeFund.org/Pet-Mayor

BEST CHARITY
Pet & Wildlife Fund
www.PetAndWildlifeFund.org

BEST CLUB DJ
DJ Sake-One
www.myspace.com/djsake1

BEST COMPANY TO WORK FOR
Montclair Veterinary Hospital
1961 Mountain Blvd., 510-339-8600
www.MontclairVetHospital.com

BEST CULTURAL EVENT
First Fridays
www.OaklandFirstFridays.org

BEST HEALTH CLUB / GYM
The Bar Method
3298 Lakeshore Ave., 510-444-2276
www.BarMethod.com

BEST HIKE / WALK
Lake Merritt
BEST KARAOKE CROWD

BEST KARAOKE CROWD
Nick’s Lounge
3218 Adeline Street, 510-652-6425
www.NicksLounge.com

BEST LOCAL BOOK
Lucky Leo by Abbey Richter

BEST MARINA
Berkeley Marina
201 University Ave., Berkeley, 510-981-6740
www.Ci.Berkeley.Ca.us/Marina_Home

BEST PHILANTHROPIST(S)
Marc and Lynne Benioff

BEST PILATES STUDIO
Real People Pilates
2718 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley, 510-704-8194
www.RealPeoplePilates.com

BEST PLACE TO DANCE
The Layover
1517 Franklin St., 510-834-1517
www.OaklandLayover.com

BEST PLACE TO MEET MEMBERS OF THE OPPOSITE SEX
Make Westing
1741 Telegraph Ave., 510-251-1400
www.MakeWesting.com

BEST PLACE TO MEET MEMBERS OF THE SAME SEX
White Horse Bar
6551 Telegraph Ave., 510-652-3820
www.WhiteHorseBar.com

BEST SINGER OR MC
Goapele
www.Goapele.com

BEST YOGA STUDIO
Namaste
Multiple locations
www.ILoveNamaste.com

MOST CHARITABLE BUSINESS
Montclair Veterinary Hospital for Montclair Pet & Wildlife Fund
1961 Mountain Blvd., 510-339-8600
www.MontclairVetHospital.com

BEST THING ABOUT YOUR CITY
Oakland People

 

Families & Pets

BEST AFTERSCHOOL PROGRAM
Chabot Adventure Time
510-655-8151
www.Adventure-Time.com

BEST CAMP
Camp Kee Tov
1301 Oxford St., Berkeley, 510-848-2372
www.CampKeeTov.org

BEST CHILDREN’S STORE
Ruby’s Garden
5026 Telegraph Ave., 510-595-5325
www.RubysGarden.com

BEST DAY CARE CENTER
Little Stars Preschool
169 14th St., 510-286-9800
www.LittleStars.org

BEST GAMES & TOYS
Sweet Dreams Toy Store
2921 College Ave., 510-548-8697
www.SweetDreamsCandyAndToys.com

BEST K–12 TEACHER
Jean-Philippe Filhol
Ecole Bilingue
1009 Heinz Ave., Berkeley, 510-549-3867
www.EB.org

BEST KIDS’ HAIRCUTS
Seven 7 Salon
5358 College Ave., 510-601-7776
1629 Park St., Alameda, 510-521-7707
www.Seven7Salon.com

BEST PET STORE
Pet Food Express
www.PetFoodExpress.com

BEST PLACE TO BOARD PETS
Every Dog Has Its Day Care
1450 63rd St., Emeryville, 510-655-7832
www.EveryDog.com

BEST PLACE TO SCHEDULE AN ADULT EVENT
Sudo Room
2141 Broadway, 510-858-7145
www.SudoRoom.org

BEST PLACE TO SCHEDULE A CHILDREN’S EVENT
Children’s Fairyland
699 Bellevue Ave., 510-452-2259
www.Fairyland.org

BEST PLACE TO TAKE THE KIDS
Children’s Fairyland
699 Bellevue Ave., 510-452-2259
www.Fairyland.org

BEST PRESCHOOL
Duck’s Nest Preschool
Multiple locations
www.DucksNest.org

BEST PRIVATE SCHOOL: K–8
Ecole Bilingue
1009 Heinz Ave., Berkeley, 510-549-3867
www.EB.org

BEST PRIVATE HIGH SCHOOL
Bishop O’Dowd High School
9500 Stearns Ave., 510-577-9100
www.BishopODowd.org

BEST PUBLIC SCHOOL: K–8
Montclair Elementary School
1757 Mountain Blvd, 510-339-6100
www.MontclairSchool.com

BEST PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL (TIE)
Oakland Technical High School
4351 Broadway, 510-450-5400
www.OaklandTech.com

Piedmont High School
800 Magnolia Ave., Piedmont, 510-594-2626
www.Piedmont.K12.ca.us/phs

BEST UNDER 21 HANGOUT
Quickly
Multiple locations
www.QuicklyUSA.com

BEST VETERINARIAN
Gary Richter, D.V.M.,
Montclair Veterinary Hospital
1961 Mountain Blvd., 510-339-8600
www.MontclairVetHospital.com

Holistic Veterinary Care and Rehabilitation Center
4382 Piedmont Ave., 510-339-2600
www.HolisticVetCare.com

MOST INSPIRATIONAL SERMONS
The Rev. Elouise D. Oliver, Senior Minister
East Bay Church of Religious Science
4130 Telegraph Ave., 510-420-1003
www.EBCRS.org

MOST KID-FRIENDLY RESTAURANT
Fentons Creamery and Restaurant
4226 Piedmont Ave., 510-658-7000
www.FentonsCreamery.com

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